I did some scouting today to prepare for some upcoming trips. Greg, a good friend and fellow angler joined me in the boat to help me get a better read on what the river smallies might be up to here in mid-March. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I believe it is a little early for the smallies to be making their pre-spawn run into, and up the Little Pigeon River. TVA had been generating 25K at Douglas Dam for several weeks, due to the heavy rain, and flooding we had back in the latter part of February. In prior years, when TVA had been generating at high volumes and over excessive periods of time, I have seen what appear to be reduced numbers of pre-spawn smallies move into the Little Pigeon River. Of course, this is purely anecdotal, and I have no scientific basis to support my on the water observations. With that in mind, I was curious to see if any French Broad smallies had started the run. I thought the water temperature might still be a little too cold. Typically, when the water temperature in the Little Pigeon rises into the mid-fifties you start to see the French Broad fish enter the river. To my surprise, on this bright and sunny day, the water temperature was fifty-nine degrees. In my experience, when it is bright and sunny like it is today, the smallies don’t feed much, until right before dark. And that was exactly, the case today. About an hour and a half before dark, Greg and I found a location where the smallies were stacked up. And when they turned on, it was a fish fighting frenzy until dark. The majority of the fish were between seventeen and nineteen inches. Included in this report, is a picture of Greg with one of the nearly three dozen smallies we caught on this beautiful day. Good quality fish, and a good start to the season that will only get better in the coming weeks.


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